Honda Goldwing GL1800 Champion Trike and the rider that caught our attention at the Long Beach Grand Prix track. Matching, retro Bell 3/4 helmet is a nice touch.
Living in Long Beach, California the seasons are not quite as harsh as much of the country. Due to the Pacific Ocean it doesn't get too cold nor very hot or humid.
Aside from being famous for Rap/Hip Hop music, the band Sublime, and the famous seaport, there is the memory of a thriving beach town where Hollywood's elite would turn frolic in the waves. The beach scene was so impressive, Long Beach earned the nickname, "the Waikiki of Southern California." That was largely before WWII and the completion of the sea wall for the thriving military machine in 1949. The offshore wall created calm water, practically no waves and a general water lover's paradise- oh, as long as you don't get too close and actually touch the water. The lack of natural ocean currents creates dead zones where fish die from oxygen deprivation, algae blooms spew toxins into the water and there's nowhere for the sewage runoff to escape so it can make someone elsewhere ill.
It really is a great place to visit though and the biggest event of the year is coming to town all week with the weekend's finale (April 14,15)- the Grand Prix of Long Beach, officially with Toyota in front of the name, but that's another point for later. Top-Dog Champ Cars resemble open-wheeled Formula One race cars, but are heavier and less agile. However, unlike F1, Champ Cars are allowed to run turbochargers. Champ car power is a bit higher than F1 specs at roughly 800hp; a reduction from the 1000hp and less safe cars used a few years ago. One of the largest differences is chassis design, where F1 teams are mandated to build their own while Champ can source from anyone. A bonus for team owner and passed onto fans is cost: F1 season team budgets are 10 times and more the $20 million average of Champ.
I believe the sanctioning body/league is the IndyCar Series. It's abit confusing for fans as there was Champ, AAA, USAC, SCCA, CRL, CART, CCWS and finally I believe, following some bickering and posturing- a merging of CART into IRL. Unfortunately, in today's corporate sponsorship of everything and branding the official name of this LB race is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IZOD IndyCar Series Race. Sadly there are no hats or small T-shirts available due to the length of the title- just kidding.
The streets of Long Beach are closed by the aforementioned ocean and marinas and hundreds of thousands come in for a week of drifting, and racing of cars at all levels- Porsche's, Vette's Vipers, LeMans, Saturday's Scion celebrity race, and more- basically a ton of smog producing fun for all. Come on out and meet the drivers, and mechanics and enjoy the great weather of Southern California in the Spring. It usually doesn't get any better than this.
This morning while attending my Chilean Chihuahua Champions Challenge on the Concourse (CCCCC) training session I caught a glimpse a passing white blur. This bolt of white lightning was on the Grand Prix of Long Beach racetrack (on Shoreline Drive) piloted by a raven-haired minx of a woman, dressed to kill on, get this, a white Goldwing Trike. Yep- all 1,800cc's of Six-cylinder grunt and technology mated to what appeared to be a Champion Trikes Independent Rear Suspension setup. I was lucky enough to snap a pic at the start/finish line for the race as the woman of seemingly Asian descent mocked me with her glare, prowess and style.
Long Beach is filled with just about every kind of activity, style or food your heart desires. Right across Ocean Blvd from the track is Modica's Deli. Stop in and say hi to Tony, a Baja 1000 race guy himself. If a finely poured beverage or wine is more to your liking, just across Linden Ave. from Modica's is 555 East Steak House (technically 555 Ocean Blvd.) with its 1,600 degree oven that cooks the meat just right. Seafood, oysters, poultry, pasta etc., are options there as well. For the best insider information eat at the luxurious bar- tell Mark we sent you and order your mixed drinks as a "bucket" to get a flavor of how the regulars order. Just down the street at 1st St. and Linden is House of Hayden, a good place to get away from the hordes at the track but close enough to walk. Dave Hayden is a H-D rider and is usually inside somewhere. There is typically a bike or 10 parked in front, but no attitudes or hassles. Just a good mix of So Cal and its many different styles. PBR on tap to Martini's and everything between. If Pine Avenue is more your liking, King's Fish House (Broadway and Pine) or Rockbottom Brewery (Ocean and Pine) are the safe bets. Food is consistent with excellent service. Both serve a wide variety of Americana style food, with the nod going to King's unless you want specialty beer.
I have a feeling we'll meet that Trike Girl again. We saw the Trike parked downtown but no sign of its owner...
It's a long race week and she's either a total outlaw or a wealthy tourist here for the races with connections that let her ride that great machine and get on the track.
You'll be the first to know. Darn, time for ChooChoo's massage...BRB.
for more information on the Long Beach Grand Prix (gplb.com).
for Champion Trikes (championtrikes.com).